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The Tesla Model S vehicle is currently in Alpha testing. Tesla's retail chief George Blankenship just revealed pricing specifics for the vehicle.   (Source: Tesla Motors )
$20k USD will buy you 140 extra miles of range

George Blankenship, former Apple retail chief (and an ex-executive of Gap, Inc.), has been a critical force in driving Tesla Motors Inc.'s strong continued sales of its Roadster EV while the company awaits the Model S.  On Monday Mr. Blankenship, the company's new Vice President and retail chief, blogged on a recent meeting at the opening of Tesla's latest store in Milan, Italy.

Apparently Mr. Blankenship and company CEO Elon Musk were met with plenty of questions about the Model S, including details on the battery and pricing.  And, surprisingly, for the first time in some time they offered precise answers.

According to the pair, the Model S is well into Alpha testing, which began with Alpha vehicles hitting the road in December 2010.  The production-intent beta vehicle will be assembled this year at the new Tesla Factory in California, though the precise month was not revealed.

In the realm of more concrete details, the Model S will be produced with a variety of battery options, at a variety of prices.

The longest range model, the Model S, will be priced at $69,900 USD after $7,500 USD U.S. federal tax credit.  It will get 300 miles on a full charge.  230 mile and 160 mile variants will also be offered for $59,900 and $49,900 USD, respectively after federal tax credit.

But there's one caveat.  The Model S "Signature Series" -- a special 300 mile-range model with additional luxury options, still has its pricing up in the air.  That's a major unknown, given that the first production run will be composed exclusively of "Signature Series" models.

The pricing on the Signature Series will be announced this summer.

As to Tesla's shipping schedule, the company says it will produce and ship 1,000 Model S Signature Series vehicles in "mid-2012".  Later that year Model S production will partially shift to the 230 mile and 160 mile variants.  In total 5,000 Model S variants will be assembled and shipped in 2012, if all goes according to plan.

Then in 2013, the production will ramp up to 20,000 units over the year.  Among those will be the first right-handed variants, which will land in "mid-2013", destined for Tesla's European and Asian markets.  Prior to that, Tesla will exclusively be producing left-handed (e.g. North American) models.

Tesla is in the midst of taking the plunge of developing a mass market EV.  That process has thrust the company deep into the red financially, but it promises big rewards if Tesla is correctly predicting the demand for an entry-level luxury EV.  The company is also buoyed by EV-related contracts with Toyota, U.S. Department of Energy high-tech loans, and hundreds of millions of dollars raised by a highly successful initial public offering of stock.

Engineers at Tesla blog on the development of the Model S here.



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Extended Range
By BioHazardous on 3/8/2011 3:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
I could see owning a Tesla S series car, but spending an extra $20k for a longer range battery pack I don't see as valuable to most people. The electric car won't be used for long road trips since it would be a pain to recharge for 3.5 hours every 300 miles. The daily commuter would benefit from an electric vehicle, but they wouldn't likely ever go more than 160 miles in a day of general driving. Since you can simply recharge every night, the extra capacity would be largely wasted I'd imagine.

The way I envision the electric vehicle fitting into the grand scheme of things for me, would be a daily commuter for limited range driving, and anything over 100 miles I'd use a diesel car for.




RE: Extended Range
By Drag0nFire on 3/8/2011 4:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think 150 miles is a minimum acceptable range for me. My usage would include daily commutes, but also day trips for the weekend. I think 150 miles is the minimum acceptable range for a reasonable trip to the beach or the mountains for a hike.

If the car actually gets 160 miles, it's great. If it gets 160 miles in dry 65degree environments with no AC use, this wouldn't work for me.

Granted, this is a luxury item that I can't afford. If I could afford a 50k car that only goes 160 miles on a charge, I could probably also afford a 60k car that goes 230 miles or a 70k car that goes 300 miles. I'd be willing to bet that Tesla sells more 300 mile cars than 230 and 160 combined...


RE: Extended Range
By BioHazardous on 3/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: Extended Range
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 4:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was thinking about those types of trips as well for people in close proximity to mountains and oceans (not so much in MN where I'm from).
I would need more than a 150 mile range for day trips and I live right next to the mountains and within 2 hours of the beach. The heat of summer and the traffic alone would quickly drain a 150 mile range battery. I am willing to bet those range estimates are best case scenarios.


RE: Extended Range
By BioHazardous on 3/8/2011 5:04:35 PM , Rating: 1
I was mainly talking about the daily commute to and from work, not weekend roadtrips over 100 miles.

The average American commute to and from work is 30 miles round trip. 160 mile range is more than adequate for the average commute.

http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/congestion_report/chapter3...

and

http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~pgordon/pdf/commuting.pdf

Sources for average commute (though they aren't terribly recent, the average over the years they do show doesn't change that much with the exception of travel time.

Regarding your comment about the battery life I have extracted some text from teslamotors.com FAQ section on the S series http://www.teslamotors.com/models/faq:

How does Model S perform in extreme temperatures?
Model S is engineered to perform in extreme hot and cold weather. The sophisticated Tesla battery management system uses re-circulating propylene glycol to either heat or cool the battery as necessary.

Do Tesla battery packs suffer from "memory effect?” Is it necessary to completely discharge the battery to maintain its capacity?
No. Tesla uses lithium ion cells, which do not suffer from memory effect.

If Model S is parked and not charging, will the battery lose its charge?
Loss of charge at rest is minimal. For example, Model S owners can park at the airport for extended vacations without plugging in.

How does accessory use (radio, climate control, headlights) affect driving range?
Accessory use does not have a dramatic impact on driving range. Exact range fluctuates based on vehicle speed, driving style, road conditions, and weather. Holding these factors constant, using higher consumption accessories like climate control will reduce range approximately five to ten percent


RE: Extended Range
By FITCamaro on 3/8/2011 5:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do Tesla battery packs suffer from "memory effect?” Is it necessary to completely discharge the battery to maintain its capacity? No. Tesla uses lithium ion cells, which do not suffer from memory effect.


Who here has even a 3 year old lithium ion laptop battery that still has the same life as when it was new. I replaced my battery right at 2 years. Lasted about 5 minutes when I replaced it.


RE: Extended Range
By BioHazardous on 3/8/2011 5:25:22 PM , Rating: 2
Memory effect and longevity are rather different things.. Not to mention you're talking about Li-Ion technology from years ago. Not sure if you're aware or not, but they continue to make advances every year in battery technology, even Li-Ion based batteries..


RE: Extended Range
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 7:17:46 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the LI battery packs in cars are not charged to full capacity nor are they discharged to zero either. A "buffer" is left in the pack to counteract the eventual loss of capacity you get.


RE: Extended Range
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 7:15:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was mainly talking about the daily commute to and from work, not weekend roadtrips over 100 miles.
You said in your first sentence:

quote:
I was thinking about those types of trips as well for people in close proximity to mountains and oceans (not so much in MN where I'm from).


Then went on to say:

quote:
was thinking that charging stations might become commonplace at things like parks so you can simply plug in while you're out and about at your destination to come back to a fully charged car.


Doesn't sound like daily commute talk to me. Regardless, 150 miles still wouldn't be enough range for the type of driving that YOU spoke of. Maybe if I lived in Malibu. The mountains there are within minutes of the beach. Nope! I've read of Malibu residents that ran out of juice in their Tesla's romping through the mountains there. And we know those cars have more than 150 miles of range.


RE: Extended Range
By BioHazardous on 3/8/2011 11:39:05 PM , Rating: 1
My original post..

My reply about the weekend day trips still applies and by your comment about 2 hours to the beach and really close to the mountains, if there was a charging station at your destination then it sounds pretty doable with a 160 mile range. Unless of course by 2 hours you mean driving for 2 hours at a greater than 80mph average.

Obviously I haven't done any real world testing here in MN since I don't own one nor do they sell them here. For now I'll trust the specs within +/- 20% of what they claim versus hearsay.


RE: Extended Range
By Shadowself on 3/8/2011 7:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How does accessory use (radio, climate control, headlights) affect driving range?
Accessory use does not have a dramatic impact on driving range. Exact range fluctuates based on vehicle speed, driving style, road conditions, and weather. Holding these factors constant, using higher consumption accessories like climate control will reduce range approximately five to ten percent


I truly don't believe this for a second. If the range is 160 miles on a sunny spring day then in the following scenario it certainly is *much* less than 144 miles (10% less):
Leave home in January (car garaged overnight & fully charged).
Outside temperature at 5:30 AM is low single digits F.
Headlights, electric heat and window defrosters (including rear window in glass defroster) all blasting away.
Drive 60 miles to work (yes, I've done that commute many, many times).
Park outdoors in the parking lot -- no plug in.
High temperature that day is still single digits F.
(Car is either expending energy to keep the batteries warm for those 13+ hours or the batteries get very, very cold. Either way at the end of the day the effective/available energy is less.)
Leave work at 7:30 PM (yes, I often pull long days) in the dark with outside temperatures in low single digits F.
Drive 60 miles home with headlights, heater, defrosters, etc. on.

Will I make it the full 120 miles round trip? Maybe, but I doubt it with a 160 mile "spring weather & daylight" range. In extreme conditions the impact will be much more than 5 to 10 percent. I would not be at all surprised if the impact is 25% or more under these conditions.


RE: Extended Range
By Thats Mr Gopher to you on 3/8/2011 11:04:59 PM , Rating: 1
The batteries getting very cold doesn't reduce the amount of energy stored in them, only the ability to access it. The batteries only need to be warmed up again once you go to drive.

The headlights won't pull that much considering the size of the battery pack. The heater would probably be a considerable load though.

Anyway, your 'belief' isn't backed by any factual information or related expertise so to be claiming any idea of what percentage of the range that would be lost is meaningless. Do you even know the actual capacity of the battery pack?


RE: Extended Range
By Dr of crap on 3/9/2011 8:36:57 AM , Rating: 2
Do you live in a cold climate?
At below zero temps the ability to crank and start a car that has not been in a garage is greatly reduced.
At really low temps the car might not start.
So the expectation that this battery powered car will -
1 - heat the driver on his commute- remember heating takes a lot of power
2 - keep the windows clear - heating as well
3 - make the 60 miles that he drives - and at freeway speeds

I don't need Comsumer Reports to tell me that the battery will be greatly affected by these conditions. As such the strickly battery powered cars are not fuctional for us snow bound commuters to us.


RE: Extended Range
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 4:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I could afford a 50k car that only goes 160 miles on a charge, I could probably also afford a 60k car that goes 230 miles or a 70k car that goes 300 miles.
Not true. Do you guys think that only millionaires buy cars over $30k? $70k is a LOT different market than $50k. In that price range, you do often have millionaire customers. $50k still consists mostly of middle class customers.


RE: Extended Range
By Dr of crap on 3/9/2011 8:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
Not his middle class customers.
I wouldn't buy a car right now for $20K!


RE: Extended Range
By Spuke on 3/9/2011 2:14:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not his middle class customers. I wouldn't buy a car right now for $20K!
I only buy used cars but there a few I would spend some loot on. 09 Boxster S PDK for one. :) My wife is wanting a car with better gas mileage and we're looking at the Ford Edge, Ford Focus, and Honda Accord Coupe. The Focus is interesting as it gets 38 mpg hwy and it's comes loaded at $25k. It looks good and has very nice options (including MyFord Touch). The Edge and Accord are both 27-28 mpg which is our goal. Anything more is gravy. I prefer the Edge. Good sized gas tank, lots of room inside, 27 mpg, MyFord Touch, and surprisingly great ride and handling. I understand that there is supposed be an Ecoboost 4 cyl for the Edge sometime but unless it gets in the mid 30's mpg AND keeps the gas tank size and options of the V6, I'm not interested.


RE: Extended Range
By bug77 on 3/8/2011 4:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think the difference between 150 and 300mi worth of battery can be the difference between daily and every other day recharge. Which would translate into longer battery life.


RE: Extended Range
By djcameron on 3/8/2011 8:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
Or, you could buy a $35,000 Lexus/Infiniti/BMW and get 140,000 miles worth of $5.00/gal gas, which is enough for 18 years of driving at 15,000 miles per year... and that doesn't even take into account the time value of money. Just sayin'.


RE: Extended Range
By djcameron on 3/8/2011 8:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
Oops... learn to calculate. That's 9 years of 15K.


RE: Extended Range
By BioHazardous on 3/8/2011 11:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
They don't exactly have the economies of scale to compare to an internal combustion engine quite yet in terms of cost.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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